Need advice on '00-02 Taurus

I am looking to buy a new (well, new to me) used car. I am looking for something cheap and reliable. By cheap I mean something that is cheap to maintain; parts that are not expensive and the availability of lots
of mechanics that know and can work on it (unlike lux imports - I know). So I am looking at a recent-model Taurus and looking to drop anywhere between $4 to $10k. I can either go for a low-mileage '01 or '02 in the top of my range, or get a higher-mileage '00 or '01 which would be on the lower end.
Am I correct in that the '02 model is the first year of the redesign? Any problems with them?
What should I look for? I don't plan on keeping the car for more than a couple of years; keeping that in mind, what advice would you give me? I'm looking at the SES models simply because ABS is a must (why isn't this standard?).
I must say that I am not a fan of American cars and am not at all thrilled by the design of the Taurus, but I am a fan of keeping money in my pocket and, if the car turns out to be reliable, maybe I'll look at American cars in a new light.
Thanks
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I seen 2001 Taurus' in fleet service run to 300K, with proper maintenance. Taurus is the one of the most overall cost effective vehicles to acquire, insure, maintain, repair and replace of any on the market today. That is why the corporate fleets love them. However as with ANY used car, one can never know how it was used, abused, maintained, or not, you get what available in your area.
mike hunt
Duke wrote:

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With proper maintenance, why not?
mike hunt
me wrote:

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The most recent refresh was in 2000, although it is still based on the 1996-1999 (lots of ovals) design. The Mercury Sable is essentially similar to the Ford Taurus.

Certainly make sure everything is with the car (owner's manual, spare tire and tools, all keys, etc.) and check the maintenance history of the car. If you don't know what to look for, have a mechanic who knows Fords inspect the car for mechanical condition and severe crash damage.
The Taurus is a very common fleet car; it is quite possible that a used Taurus at a dealer is an ex-rental or other ex-fleet car that was auctioned after the fleet owner was done with it (though some rental fleets sell some of their ex-rentals themselves).
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Do not confuse rental cars with corporate fleet cars. There is a hugh difference between the two. Corporate fleet vehicles are 'tools' of their business and are therefore generally well maintained. Rental cars are the 'product' of their business that are used and often abused by their customers. Generally poorly maintained, usually nothing more than fluid toping and repairs. They are generally turned in one year, fleet vehicle are generally kept in service for five years or 300K WOF.
mike hunt
"Timothy J. Lee" wrote:

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'00 was the year of the redesign. Bought my wife a 00 model back in January of this year, had an issue with the coolant bottle sensor giving false "Low Coolant" light, and the brake pedal switch being faulty, but no real issues. We really like the car. It's the 24 Valve DOHC Duratec, plenty of power and it shifts EXTREMELY smooth. Fits our three kids in the back fairly well and it's great on the highway. Very quiet, I find myself doing 80 to 90 MPH thinking I'm around 60 to 70 when in comparison with my Explorer.
I dislike the '99 models and prior design, looks like an elephant sat on the hood and trunk with that "squished" look. :) With '00 on up, it only looks like that in the front. Hehehe. Really though, great car. The trunk is huge, inside is roomy.
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